“To be fully loved – and to fully love – requires that we are fully known.”
I enjoy connecting with my audience when I am speaking and if it’s a small enough group, I begin by asking them to tell me something I don’t know about them. My family and friends are used to me asking them questions. I genuinely want to better understand who they are for the purpose of having closer relationships with them. Asking questions was also a way of Jesus. He desires to connect at the heart level and in the process, help others discover who they really are.
God created us with a longing to have a relationship with Himself and with others. It starts by being known. When we are known, we have closer relationships, and we have a greater understanding of and freedom to be ourselves.
Being known requires vulnerability and sharing our stories with one another. It’s scary to let others know who we really are; to share our weaknesses, and our struggles. We fear rejection and abandonment if others knew our true selves. But it’s that very vulnerability that is the door to being known and having our feelings and dreams validated. And when we are known, seen, heard, and understood, we feel loved and that allows for more intimacy in our relationships.
Intentionally seeking God and those you feel safe with and trusting them with your thoughts and emotions are steps to being known. Curt Thompson in The Soul of Shame writes, “To allow yourself to be known is very hard work.” It feels risky because it is, but the benefits are well worth putting ourselves out there.
Start with connecting with your heavenly Father by pouring out your heart to Him and listening to Him speak to you. Recently when shame was fueling my anxiety, and I was sinking in the “I’m not good enough” cycle of condemnation, the Holy Spirit directed me to ask God what He thought of me and who I was to Him. What He whispered in my heart reminded me of what He spoke over Jesus at His baptism. “You are my Son, who I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Likewise, the Father feels the same way about you!
“We can love God, love ourselves or love others only to the degree that we are known by God and known by others.”
1. What is your experience of being known by God?
2. Who else knows the real you?